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Casting is just short of great. I can't remember her name, but the blonde is very good, as is Greg Kinnear as the couple who split up. Nice work all around. ... Andie MacDowell ... takes what is a very interesting character and does her usual walk around and whine while looking pretty routine. Awful awful awful. However, this is surprisingly made up for by one of the gutsiest casting choices I've seen in awhile with Dennis Quaid. Anyone who thinks Quaid can't act should see this film. This character is VERY unlike anything he's done before -- much more feminine quality than we've seen before, while remaining strong and overtly masculine. He's articulate and sensitive ....AND HE COOKS FOR A LIVING!!! Anyway, can't go into it all here, but its the best thing he's ever done with the possible exception of THE RIGHT STUFF.
The final scene, as with the play, is one of the most important scenes I've watched in a long time. Andie MacDowell even works. Its the most delicately beautiful exploration of love and marriage I've ever seen.
Want to spend a "thinky" evening? Watch this with some friends and then have dinner. My wife and I still talk about this film and what it means.
But watch this film. Its truly outstanding. I'd give it 5 stars except for Andie MacDowell and slightly watering down the play's original script.
Review: A friend and I had a conversation about the state of Hollywood movies today. That for every Swordfish and The Grinch remake (an obnoxious film at that), a small film like Sexy Beast or another will go virtually unnoticed by the likes of big Hollywood business. In today's profit driven society, smart films are finding their home on cable. In "Dinner With Friends", this drama is riveting, not for any kind of suspense, but for a study of what people really are, and what they do in life. Adapted from a stage play, the words seem real right down to the very last word. As the film's writer and director bring the film's situations to your own judgment, as to who these people are and what they can be like. It's a character study that doesn't exploit people, and it lets their actions speak for themselves. Overall, a good film.
I've watched this movie twice now and I can already say that I've picked up on several of the many, I'm sure, nuances here. Four characters, two mairrages, one divorce and each is remarkably done. I especially appreciate that none of the characters (even Kinnear's adulterous character, which he seems typecast for now) is presented as flawed, spirited and in a way, noble. Gabe (Dennis Quaid) is heartbreaking as he has taken back-seat in a mairrage to a strong woman (McDowell) who, while wanting, nay demanding, her husband talk to her more, always manages to tell him how stupid the things he says are. Also the contrast between the pairs is phenomenal. Tom is the confident divorcee, Gabe is the soft-spoken married one. Beth is the free-thinking, and maybee too free-thinking, now single, artist, and Karen is the organized and 'moralistic' married woman, trying all-too-hard too hold a friendship between the four together.
Whether you are 21 or 71, married or single, male (well...maybe) or female (for my part, I am a 26 year old, happily single, male), parts of this film will speak to us all. Whether it's Tom's frank talks with Gabe about his wife's refusal for even basic physical contact, Gabe's rebuttal about the joys of mairrage and growing old with a sweetheart, Karen's dream about "the two us's" or Beth's attempts to remain aloof and free from it all. You may laugh, you'll certainly cry, you'll probably scatch your head, you'll pick a character to hate and find out you werer wrong, and you'll pick a character to love and find out you were right.
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